Freshly Renovated City Parks Remove Yet Another Mark of Katrina
By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor
St. Roch Park, located at 1800 St. Roch Ave., first opened in 1910, making it the third-oldest park in New Orleans. Also known as Sampson Playground, it sustained severe damage during Hurricane Katrina and needed major renovation work to restore it to its former glory. Although the park’s pool has yet to receive the necessary funding to restore it back to use, the $1.8 million in restoration funds went a long way, covering the creation of a new baseball field and a new brick plaza complete with picnic tables and benches; renovation of the concession stand, restroom facilities, fences and gates; and resurfacing of the basketball court.
The project was paid for with FEMA public assistance funds, Disaster Community Development Block Grant (D-CDBG) funds and City Bond funds. Designed by New Orleans-based Hamilton Anderson Associates Inc., the project was executed by Metairie-based Icon Construction Group L.L.C. Perle Construction and Boines Construction & Equipment acted as project DBEs.
The renovated park is part of a grander effort to restore and revitalize the St. Roch neighborhood, which sustained significant damage during the storm but received less attention than other areas of the city. “This newly renovated park will further anchor redevelopment and revitalization of the St. Roch neighborhood. Together with the completed St. Roch Art Walk and soon-to-be renovated St. Roch Market, we are building the city we always knew we could be,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu of future development in the area.
Inaugurated on the same day was the $500,000 revamp of Mickey Markey Park in the Bywater, funded by a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Grant rounded out by private donations raised by The Trust for Public Freedom, a leading not-for-profit organization. The NGO partnered with the city of New Orleans Department for Parks and Parkways, NORDC, the Friends of NORD and the Bywater Neighborhood Association to renovate and redevelop the gathering place. Work included removing fencing to make the park more welcoming, pouring new concrete walkways, installing new benches, landscaping and lead remediation. “The reopening of Mickey Markey Park is a big win for NORDC and The Trust for Public Land. This is a proof positive of the great things that can be accomplished through public-private partnerships,” NORDC Chairman Roy Glapion declared.
Photo courtesy of Postcards From New Orleans’ Facebook page